Do you use snake oil?

When Chinese laborers came to the United States to work on building a transcontinental railroad, they brought their culture with them. In their medicine cabinets was a “snake oil” made from the oil of Chinese water snakes.

They used it to relieve arthritis and other joint pains. It seemed to work.

Clark Stanley became the Rattlesnake King when he had a rodeo show with an exciting demonstration.

He held up a rattlesnake and threw it and boiling water until the fats rose to the surface. He bottled the skimmed oil and started selling it.

He went on to produce a “miracle drug” called snake oil.

The problem was that federal agents seized a “snake oil” cargo and found it contained no snake oil. However, it did contain chili peppers, turpentine, and camphor.

From that time, anyone who sells a product that makes big claims that don’t work is called a “snake oil salesman.”

Jesus warned about spiritual peddlers of snake oil.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15, ESV)

They market spiritual views that distort God’s word and direction. They promise good lives with little obedience.

It’s all snake oil.

It is nothing but snake oil if it doesn’t come from God’s word.

-Robert G. Taylor-